bushidobadboy, if it makes you feel any better, I did my first show earlier this month and had a fine experience. I realize that I am not the same level of competitor as the OP, but I did drop a ton of weight and have set the bar for myself in the future.
In 20 weeks I didn't cheat once, didn't miss any lifting, didn't miss any cardio, and only missed 2 meals.
Detaching myself from food was probably the most important thing. I didn't have any cravings for bad food up until the week before the contest, when I started to plan my post-contest meal. Constantly reminding myself that I am making a personal choice to do this diet was key. If I started to think about junk food or anything, I'd just kick myself in the rear and say to myself "Man up you pussy! Children are the ones who cry about cookies and candy, and there are people in 3rd world countries eating dirt. You made this decision and feeling sorry for yourself is pathetic and isn't the champion's attitude."
I never got too short tempered or anything like that, but I am already a calm and calculated individual to begin with. If you have a volatile personality though, it will certainly be amplified by your diet. A very experienced colleague who did the same show as me (has competed at Nationals), who followed a very similar diet as me, told me he was starting to get annoyed that even in the last few weeks of my diet, I wasn't having a hard time. That was all because I chose to have that attitude. "Mind over matter" isn't just some catchphrase, it's the honest truth.
Sleep was kind of tough sometimes with an awkward schedule, but I was usually able to get it straight within a day or two. Working from home could help you quite a bit in that respect.
Social events weren't the easiest, but just like the OP, I brought food with me everywhere. I'd be designated driver for my girl and her friends on the weekend and run out to the car to scarf down my chicken every few hours. I didn't make a big deal about it, it just became part of a routine.
After looking at all the mental preparation you've already done, I think your experience shouldn't be horrible, and you might even enjoy it in some way, much like I did.
nreviya, I am sorry to hear that you had such a horrible time this go round. You still have an awesome physique and you should be very proud. Now I guess just do the things in life that you truly enjoy, and that make you want to get up in the morning.